Frequently Asked Questions



What can I do with a Global Studies Major?

What can students NOT do with a global studies major?! Students may choose to focus on any of the several aspects of global studies including: area studies, international studies, postcolonial studies or a topical field such as development and globalization. The aim of the program is to:

  1. Give students competency within their focus area.
  2. Foster students' appreciation of the connections between themselves and the rest of the world.
  3. Encourage students to become knowledgeable, active participants in the global arena.

Here are some areas that our students are interested in pursuing:

  • Non-profit organizations history law
  • NGO’s international relations literature
  • Peace Corps State Department acupuncture
  • Public policy foreign affairs public health
  • Sustainable technology international education United Nations
  • International health international business World literature
  • Sustainable development education political science
  • Teaching English as a second language community development
  • Foreign languages

Quite a few of our students have second minors or double majors that allow them to pursue these areas during their undergraduate careers. Many of our students want nothing less than to change the world, and we are committed to helping prepare them to do that.

  • When do I need to study abroad?

Most students study abroad sometime between the summer after their sophomore year and the fall of their senior year. Global Studies students should start their planning early because they need to spend at least a semester abroad! Appalachian has a number of excellent exchange programs with partner institutions across the globe; students also take advantage of programs such as ISEP (International Student Exchange Program) and UNC-EP. In addition, students often also participate in one of Appalachian’s short-term study abroad programs through the Appalachian Overseas Education program. The combination of a short-term program and a semester-long program is quite popular. Students in Latin American Studies, for example, might travel with the Department of Geography program to Ecuador and then spend a semester studying in Argentina.

Students can also choose to do a semester-long internship or to participate in a service-learning program as part of their study abroad experience.

How do I choose a language?

There are as many reasons for language choice as there are students who make the choice. Some students decide to continue the language they took in high school. Some students decide that they would rather begin a new language, one they always wanted to learn or that was not available to them in high school. This is frequently the case with languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Japanese or Russian; these languages are not regularly offered in many North Carolina schools, for example.
Language choice is connected to focus area choice. Students should consider their choice of language and focus area together, and the two should complement one another. Thus, while German is a wonderful language, it makes more sense to study Japanese for someone interested in East Asian Studies.

What if I choose a focus area (or want to study abroad in an area) whose language is not taught at Appalachian?

India comes to mind in this situation. We have students interested in Globalization or in Peace Conflict and Human Rights who would be very interested in studying in India and learning Hindi. Appalachian does not offer Hindi. But we encourage students to investigate study abroad opportunities that will enable them to learn Hindi in intensive language programs or as part of the study abroad program. In these situations with so-called less commonly taught languages, Global Studies students work out a “language contract” consultation with the program director.

Do I need to take a placement test for a foreign language?

Yes! Students who wish to enroll in French or Spanish or German courses at Appalachian should take the online placement test. There are no placement tests for these languages: Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian. For these languages, interested students should contact the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures (

How long do I need to study abroad?

The major has a study abroad requirement of 12 weeks, which is the equivalent of a semester. It is never too early to start investigating opportunities for study abroad.

What kinds of courses can I take abroad? Do they all transfer?

Global Studies students take a range of courses during their study abroad semester. The major has a substantial foreign language requirement, which is the equivalent of a minor in a foreign language. Many students take foreign language courses abroad to fulfill their language minor. Depending on location and institution and language ability, students may also receive credit for courses in history, literature, political science and cultural studies (to name a few areas). Global Studies works with the Office of International Education as well as the Department of Languages and Literatures and many other departments across campus, all work together to ensure that courses transfer as easily as possible!

How do I declare a major?

Students who wish to declare a Global Studies major should first make an appointment with the program director. They then discuss focus area options and draft an initial plan of study. There is a change of major form that students must complete and submit to the College of Arts and Sciences (request for addition/change of major/minor).

Can I choose more than one focus area?

You should choose one focus area to concentrate on. Each focus area is flexible to accommodate a range of interests (in courses ranging from Anthropology to Political Science); however, you cannot declare your major until you decide on a focus area. Consult with the Global Studies director.

Can I create my own focus area, or do I need to choose one from the list?

Students are encouraged to consider the regional focus areas listed, especially since these are well recognized in the context of “area” studies: Europe, Asia, Africa, the Americas, the Middle East. There are also transnational focus areas: globalization and development; peace, conflict and human rights; and global health.   There really is something for almost every interested student!

On the other hand, students sometimes develop interests in areas that are even more unique and that are not among those listed. So, students can develop their own focus area in consultation with the director. They need to present their choice and a rationale for it before they can declare their major.